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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #305049

Research Project: Bioavailability of Iron, Zinc and Select Phytochemicals for Improved Health

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Title: Differences in relative bioavailability of traditional Bangladeshi meal plans

item DELLAVALLE, DIANE - Medical University Of South Carolina
item Glahn, Raymond

Submitted to: Food and Nutrition Bulletin
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/12/2014
Publication Date: 12/1/2014
Citation: Dellavalle, D.M., Glahn, R.P. 2014. Differences in relative bioavailability of traditional Bangladeshi meal plans. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 35(4):431-439.

Interpretive Summary: In this paper, we discuss how various combinations of rice, lentil, vegetable and fish (prepared using traditional recipes) influence nutritional factors of the meal matrix such as iron concentration, relative iron bioavailability and phytic acid concentration. This research applies not only to Bangladeshi foods, but to many traditional meal plans around the world composed of staple food crops (e.g. rice) that are micronutrient-poor, but include meal components (e.g. pulses) have the potential to provide a significant nutritional impact relative to other crops lower in iron. Secondly, we present data showing that seed coat removal greatly improves iron bioavailability of meal plans that include dehulled dal (compared to whole lentil dal). This information is important not only to marketers and consumers, but to the design and implementation of human efficacy trials in developing countries using biofortified pulse and legume crops to improve iron status.

Technical Abstract: Background: Iron (Fe) deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide. Large intakes of micronutrient-poor staple crops, coupled with low intakes of highly bioavailable dietary Fe is a major cause of this deficiency. Objective: This study examined the Fe concentration and relative Fe bioavailability of several models (n=23) of traditional Bangladeshi meals (rice, lentil/dal, vegetable, and fish), as well as the impact of lentil seed coat removal Fe nutritional quality. Methods: Relative Fe bioavailability was assessed by the in vitro/Caco-2 cell culture method, Fe concentration by ICAP-ES, and phytic acid (PA) concentration by colorimetric assay. Recipes contained 75-85% rice, 0-15% dal (containing whole or dehulled lentil), 0-15% vegetable curry, and 0-8% fish. Results: While Fe concentration of recipes containing dehulled dal were significantly lower than whole dal (p=0.005), seed coat removal doubled relative Fe bioavailability and increased PA concentration (p<0.001). The addition of fish to the meals had no significant effect on relative Fe bioavailability. Fe concentration and relative Fe bioavailability were correlated in the recipes containing dehulled dal (r=0.48, p=0.03), but not whole dal (r=-0.047, p=0.84). Conclusions: The total amount of Fe absorbed from traditional Bangladeshi meals is dependent upon Fe concentration, and dehulling lentils removes inhibitory factors increasing Fe uptake, but also increases the density of PA in the lentil sample. Thus, along with breeding for high Fe concentration and bioavailability (i.e. biofortification), seed coat removal plus strategies to lower PA concentrations may be an important strategy to improve Fe bioavailability of the lentil and other pulse crops.